A Dartmoor night navigation
Night navigation across open moorland can be enormous fun and very rewarding, but it is not something to be undertaken lightly. You should be confident with your navigation skills in daylight before heading out.
On a chilly autumnal day, we headed over to Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire to get involved with the filming of a walk for ITV - Britain’s Favourite 100 Walks. The theme of the walk was famous children's author Roald Dahl, who lived and wrote his books in Great Missenden for 36 years.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in the village was the starting point for the filming. When we arrived television presenter Ore Oduba was filming his set pieces to camera, so we took refuge in the museum from the chilly weather. There was just time for a quick coffee and the chance to meet professional Storyteller Chip Colquhoun, who was going to join us on the walk along with another family to bring the stories alive!
After a quick brief of the schedule, meeting Ore and the film crew, we started off on our walk leaving the village shops behind us.
Our first stop for storytelling was under a railway bridge, where Chip told us imaginative stories that got the children's enthusiasm and energy levels rising. We walked under the bridge pretending to be characters from one of Roald books. The BFG was very popular; we did get some strange looks from some passersby! This was the same railway bridge that Roald Dahl used to test stories out on his children.... sometimes in the dark!
We then headed out into the beautiful countryside playing observation games with Chip. With their confidence and enthusiasm growing, the children were coming up with some imaginative and creative answers! Incidentally, at this point, Ore got hijacked by a couple of Strictly fans! But we soon got him back to join in with the games.
A field lead us to an ancient woodland called Angling Spring Woods. This was the location where most of the filming took place. The woods are said to be the inspiration for Roald Dahl's book ‘Fantastic Mr Fox' and home to very rare yellow slugs. There were more stories and filming as we walked through the lovely woods. Then the fun part: chasing Ore and throwing leaves at each other ( this was Tom's favourite part! ) and not forgetting a bit of yellow slug hunting too!
As the light started to disappear, it was time for last pieces to the camera; Tom had a couple of lines at this point so really hope they include this in the programme, as he spoke so well. Excellent timing by the film crew; as we left the woodland, the sun disappeared over the horizon. The afternoon had passed by so quickly; we had been completely captivated by the stories and fun.
Filming with ITV, Ore Oduba and a professional storyteller is not something you get to do every day! It was a fantastic experience that we will never forget. And in case your wondering, watch the programme to see if we found any of those rare yellow slugs!
Britain's Favourite Walks: Top 100 is being broadcast on 30 Jan at 7.30pm. You can find the complete list of walks with links to each route here.